Published June 5, 2021
Our furry friends have enjoyed extra quality time with us during quarantine. As more pet parents are vaccinated, return to work, and leave the house more often though, their pets may need some help adjusting to alone time again.
Here’s how you can ease your pet into a new routine and make alone-time positive.
Where Should Pets Stay While You’re Away?
This depends on the individual pet. If your pet is not inclined towards chewing or other destructive behavior, gets along well with any other pets, and if your home is pet-proofed, you can let them have full-range of the home.
If there are any concerns like hazards in the home, destructive behavior habits, or issues with other pets, it’s a good idea to section-off a pet-proofed portion of your home. Baby gates and pet gates come in handy, and tall ones are even available for large pets and jumpers.
Crates may also be used for short periods of time but are not ideal if you are leaving your pet for hours at a time.
Wherever your pet stays while you’re away, make sure they have access to a bed and water. If you keep your pet crated for quick trips, water bowls that hook to the side of the crate help minimize spillage.
If you’re not sure how your pet will behave while you’re gone, you can begin keeping them in a smaller space and gradually work into a larger portion of the home with time.
Reduce Separation Anxiety and Make Alone-time Positive
Help your pet learn that being alone isn’t a bad thing. If you’re worried your pet may not react well to your absence, start with small increments of alone time. If you go outside without your pet or leave them alone in another room and hear them begin to howl, bark or whine, don’t rush to comfort them. This will only encourage such behavior and dependence.
You can also leave an item like a tee shirt with your pet, as your scent may be a familiar comfort in your absence.
Keeping goodbyes brief is best. Your pet may feel increased anxiety if you make a big deal about leaving the house every time you go. It’s a good idea to slip out of the house quietly while your pet is preoccupied, or you can make goodbyes a positive experience by offering a treat before you head out the door.
Exercise and Entertainment
It’s important to be conscientious of your pet’s daily exercise, especially if you’re away part of the day. Dogs should be walked before you leave the house, and it’s a good idea to fit some playtime in with pets before you go if your schedule permits. Dogs enjoy working for their food, so you can keep them entertained when you leave in the morning by putting their breakfast in a safe treat-dispenser toy. Here’s more information on how to fit in daily exercise for both dogs and cats.
If you are able to take time off during the day, head home to walk your dog or let them outside to go to the bathroom and work-off excess energy. If not, it’s a good idea to get a dog walker or pet-sitter to stop by and let your pet out/take them for a walk. Alternatively, you can consider taking your pet to a daycare when you plan to be away for extended periods of the day.
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